Sometimes we take things for granted. We’re around some things so much that we get accustomed to them and we forget how important they are to us—until they’re gone. Maybe your air conditioner suddenly fails during the Summer months, or budgetary needs mean you can’t afford some of your favorite foods anymore, or, on a more serious note, you lose a family member. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away, but here are just five things that God really never had to give us in the first place, but did anyway, for no other apparent reason other than His unconditional love for us, His children.
We could have gotten by without color vision. Seeing in black and white would not have changed the Plan of Salvation one bit. We would still sin, need to repent, go to church, pray, develop Christ-like attributes—the whole sha-bang. But God, for whatever reason, gave us color anyway. We get to be stopped in our tracks by a breathtaking sunset, we get to point out vivid rainbows to our families, we even get to agonize for weeks over which color to paint the kitchen. God didn’t have to give us color, but He did.
And the same goes for music. Nothing in God’s plan would have changed without it, but we’ve got it. I don’t understand what makes any given rhythm “catchy,” or why some notes are “out of tune” while others aren’t. What makes Debussy’s Claire de Lune so beautiful, but Schoenberg’s atonal Six Little Piano Pieces so … odd? All I know is that having music in our lives is a blessing that maybe we didn’t deserve, but got anyway.
3. Geographic diversity
We’ve got mountains, valleys, deserts, jungles, arctic tundras, oceans, forests, islands, and continents. Wouldn’t it have been easier for God to just design the Earth as a nice flat, round sphere? Maybe, but He didn’t. He gave us a whole range of geographic features that make life more exciting to live. People travel the world to see the White Cliffs of Dover, or the Dead Sea, or Yellowstone’s Old Faithful. Was it necessary for our salvation to make Earth such a geographically interesting place to live in? I don’t think so. I think it was just another cherry that a loving God put on top of our mortal existence.
4. Sense of smell
Remember returning home after a hard day’s play when you were a kid? You walked through the front door and that familiar smell of mom’s home-cooked dinner wafted through the house straight to your nose. Whether it’s a hot meal, a field of wildflowers, or even sour milk—our sense of smell is another blessing we probably would have been able to get along without, but thankfully have nonetheless.
Even the bad smells are a blessing. They let us know when foods have gone bad or when something is outright inedible. Our noses can immediately help us identify dangerous situations, such as a gas leak or smoke seeping into a bedroom at night. Our sense of smell very easily could have been a blessing reserved for us in the afterlife, but we’re lucky to enjoy it right here, right now.
Everyone loves to laugh, and it’s a blessing that we can. A sense of humor is another gift from God that we sometimes take for granted. It provides an escape route of reprieve from life’s constant demands. Of course, like most all of God’s blessings, the adversary does his best to use it for evil purposes. Much of today’s “humor” is crass, base, and derogatory. But our ability to enjoy life, have fun, and laugh at a good joke comes from God. We could have gotten along without that ability, but it sure would have made life a lot less … lifelike.